BEIJING, CHINA December 16, 2002 In a ceremony here today, Air China was recognized for establishing a new CFM56-3B time on wing record in China, achieving more than 25,000 hours and 12,000 cycles on wing without a single shop visit.
CFM56-3B engines, which power the Boeing 737-300/-400/-500 series of aircraft, are produced by CFM International (CFM), a 50/50 joint company between Snecma Moteurs (Safran Group) of France and General Electric Company.
With its recent integration of China Southwest Airlines and Zhejiang Airlines, the new Air China Group now operates a fleet of 67 aircraft powered by 146 CFM engines. The record-setting engine was part of the original installation on a new Boeing 737-300 delivered to Air China in April 1992. During its in-service life, the engine has undergone routine inspections but has remained trouble-free.
In November, Air China became the second customer for the CFM56-3 Time on Wing (TOW) upgrade with an order for five kits. The upgrade, which features advanced three dimensional high-pressure compressor aerodynamics and new high-pressure turbine hardware, was certified in June, and Air China has already taken delivery of its first kit. CFM56-3 engines average 16,000 hours on wing before requiring an initial shop visit, and about 10,000 hours after overhaul. The TOW core upgrade will improve post-overhaul time on wing by as much 1,500 to 2,000 cycles. Also, lower operating temperatures, coupled with material improvements, reduce operating costs.
Air China has been a CFM customer since 1986 and also operates 11 737-800 aircraft powered by CFM56-7 engines and three long-range Airbus A340 aircraft powered by the CFM56-5C. The airline has six 737-700s on order and is scheduled to take delivery in 2003 and 2004. Overall, there are nearly 650 CFM56 engines operating in China, of which more than 300 are the CFM56-3 model.